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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

BBC Wiltshire Crossing Divides

BBC Wiltshire have started a new series called "Crossing Divides".   This is where two people with opposing views on a particular subject have a meaningful conversation without resorting to throwing buns at one an other or coming to blows.
So! One Simon Banton of the "Say No to Tunnels" campaignNo photo description available. and I, sat quietly in a room with Dan O'Brien the BBC's political journalist and with mic in place, we spoke to one an other for 39 minutes.   This was edited down to the required 15 minutes for the program and aired last evening at 18.45.   We both expressed our differing opinions with regard to the Stonehenge Project to put the A303 take on the whole thing, was of course the amount of traffic that diverts off the A303 in it's present state and into our village, making it a very dangerous place to is a link should you want to have a listen:  and it is the whole 15 minutes.   Just slide the time indicator along to 2 hours 42 secs for the introduction.

On another front, STAG were a little concerned to hear on BBC Breakfast a week ago, that even local MPs did not now know from where the money would come for the tunnel so we took the initiative to write to our contact at Highways England and she came up with this link:

Friday, 8 February 2019

Close but no cigar!

My thanks are due to Charlott Higgins - Chief Culture Writer for the Guardian and this link to....a very long piece in today's copy....

From the story about Stonehenge - past and future, it does appear that Charlotte in her research, probably spoke to the majority of interested parties and at least STAG are referenced in the 8th paragraph.   Unfortunately, it appears we are the only group she missed talking to.   I have written to her personally to say that I would have been happy to meet with her while she was doing her research for the story and she would have found out how local village residents (Shrewton in our case) are affected by the beleaguered A303 in it's present "not fit for purpose" state.

Charlotte.....everything you say in the piece is very important and balanced but you should have realized that local people have a voice too!!

Monday, 28 January 2019

A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Highways England have now sent us their link showing all those who registered with the Inspectorate as "interested parties" in the A303 Stonehenge Project.   This had to be completed by the
11th January this year.
If you get the time to access the link and gloss over the 238 pages with 10 to a page of objectors representations, you will no doubt recognise that 85% of these use a remarkably similar form of wording for their objections, the majority of whom live 80 + miles from the monument, some of these even coming from other continents.....this is clearly where they took their instructions.....that well known border collie.....    These sheep get on my goat!!!
Image result for abacusThese are the people who emailed STAG two years ago, telling us that - quote: "the traffic on the A303 has not increased since 2004" and that email remains on file!    Me thinks perhaps they need to invest in a new abacus, since the one they're using is clearly worn out!!!
So! all you followers of this blog who might just be getting a little fed up of me banging on about the traffic in what should be a sleepy little village on Salisbury Plain.....Well! listen up and read on.....This is the Traffic Analysis Report from SIDs: Speed Indicator Device to you and me - the smiley face if you're not speeding through our village. Image result for speed indicator device  
The SID was out for just 4 months as can be seen by the date here.....registering traffic in one direction into the village from one of the 4 entries - London Road
I certainly don't expect you to study all the figures, which can be broken down by the day if you are interested, but please pay particular attention to the line: 
Total Vehicles = 280,608 counts!!!
Says it all really and Wiltshire Council have a part to play in this by agreeing to close the A344 prior to upgrading the A303 past Stonehenge.
Apart from residents, the majority of these vehicles are using Shrewton to "pass through" avoiding the bottle neck around Stonehenge and will inevitably use Tanner's Lane or more likely our High Street to reach the A360 and exit the village.   I leave you to give a thought to our elderly, mothers with children, horse riders and cyclists, not to mention the destruction of many cob cottages along these routes.....and that figure one direction and one of two entries to the village west bound - 280,608 vehicles!!!

Friday, 14 December 2018

Planning Inspectorate has accepted....

So! a nice lady from Highways England with a very long title:

"Communications Engagement Manager for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down Stonehenge Project".....wrote to me yesterday asking if I would put out an update for those who might be following what is now considered a major project for Highways England and the government...and so here it is, along with the Timeline for the whole project:

Progress report

Our application for a development consent order to build the scheme has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate. You can view our application and register as an interested party between 8 December 2018 and 11 January 2019 on the the Planning Inspectorate’s website.
This is an important milestone as it signifies another step towards improving this vital route to the south west.
We have also produced an explanatory booklet to help you understand the proposed scheme. It sets out the key elements on the scheme, reflecting its development since consultation, and will act as a guide to important information for those wanting to engage with the Planning Inspectorate’s examination of our proposals.

Much more information can be found here including the updated Explanatory booklet and shows that Highways England have listened and taken on board our responses to the recent consultations held earlier this year: 
What's next
The A303 improvement past Stonehenge is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and will be considered under the Planning Act 2008. Under the Act, applicants apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State for Transport.
We submitted the DCO application on 19 October 2018 to the Planning Inspectorate who accepted it on 16 November 2018. The Inspectorate will now arrange a detailed examination of the application, in which stakeholders and the public can participate, before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State who will make the final decision on the scheme proceeding.
More details about the examination process can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.


2013A303 feasibility study announced as part of the Autumn Statement
2014Scheme included in the Roads Investment Strategy
2015-2016Route options assessed
12 January to 5 March 2017Non-statutory consultation on route options
September 2017Preferred route announced
8 February to 23 April 2018Statutory consultation on proposed scheme
17 July to 14 August 2018Supplementary consultation
19 October 2018Development consent order application submitted
16 November 2018Development consent order accepted for examination
Early 2019Begin public examination
2021 (planned)Start work on site

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

More Bl....y Meetings...

In October 2013, when I started this blog, I posted up "A303 Meetings B..... Meetings".   Back then, the meetings were to attract the attention of village residents, anyone coming from anywhere in the world who needed to use the A303 past Stonehenge, Government, MP's, National Trust, Highways Agency (old title) and anyone else that would listen to my rantings of Rat Running through our village of Shrewton because......"The A303 is no longer fit for purpose" and needs to be "stashed away"....under ground! 

Well here we are in October 2018 and I'm still attending b....y meetings, and the A303 around Stonehenge is "still not fit for purpose"!!
However, we are making progress and the meetings now have taken a different tack and I would say, are more positive toward the project to fix the "not fit for purpose" road.
We now attend a "by monthly" meeting called the Highways England Forum and this is very interesting if you happen to be as sad about the project as I am.   In preparation for the last Forum held at the Holiday Inn last Thursday the 25th, I had even boned up on the term D C O!!!    What on earth is a D-C-O I hear you ask?.....well perhaps not, but it's an acronym for "Development Consent Order" and you can find out all about it if you go to: 
but to save you time, I've copied the important bit here.....

"Progress report

We've submitted our application for development consent for the scheme to the Planning Inspectorate. The application will appear on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.
Non-statutory consultation on the scheme took place between 12 January and 5 March 2017, followed by statutory consultation between 8 February and 23 April 2018, and supplementary consultation between 17 July and 14 August 2018.
We'd like to thank all who have participated. The responses have played a major part in shaping the scheme submitted for development consent.

What’s next

The A303 improvement past Stonehenge is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and will be considered under the Planning Act 2008. Under the Act, applicants apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State for Transport.
We submitted the DCO application to the Planning Inspectorate on 18 October 2018. The Inspectorate will decide whether to accept the application within 28 days of submission. Following acceptance, the Inspectorate will undertake a detailed examination of the application, in which stakeholders and the public can participate, before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State.   More details can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website."
Of course, the thorn in everyone's side who want something done to alleviate the traffic in our village of Shrewton, while the A303 remains unfit for purpose, is an outfit (charity) called Stonehenge Alliance:    They're worried that Stonehenge will loose it's UNESCO World Heritage status if the road is put into a tunnel or at least one that's too short in their eyes......So what if it does, as I said in a previous posting some years back, the city of Dresden in Germany, lost their status in June 2009 because they built a waldschlosschenbrucke.....(large bridge to you and me)..... to alleviate traffic crossing the River Elbe and Dresden's tourism has not suffered as a result.   People from all over the world will continue to visit Stonehenge whether it has status or not because the average tourist probably don't have a clue who or what UNESCO are and just want the Stonehenge experience.

So! as we said, the DCO was submitted on 18th October and when the Planning Inspectorate make their decision in approximately 3 week's time, when hopefully, the project will be accepted for the pre examination stage.   There are a further 5 stages it must go through before the final decision by the Secretary of State.  If you're as sad as me about this project, you can find out everything about the project and watch a video here: 

Friday, 10 August 2018

Some Experiment?!

On the 4th July just a few weeks ago, I put up a blog showing a letter from Wiltshire Council that explains why the Byways around Stonehenge didn't open following this year's Summer Solstice.....
Some nice new purpose built gates at enormous expense no doubt, have been installed across Byways 12 and 11 off the A303. 
We spoke to the guys at the most recent Highways Consultation and asked them if they knew anything about the new gates, because I was certainly confused that on their Consultation booklet page 8 it shows the two Byways with a brown dotted line which is explained in the "key" as:
"Existing Byway open to all traffic".   Their answer was that more than one body were involved in the decision, Wiltshire Council being one of those and Amesbury Town Council another and we think of course that English Heritage Trust would have had a part in it too.   Highways had NO say in the decision to close the Byways and said that there were still remaining decisions to be made about Kent Carriage Gates because it would require a very skinny horse to get through the gap provided for cyclists, horse riders and walkers!!!!   Usual half baked idea from officialdom!
This begs the question.....Were local Council tax payers consulted prior the closure....NO! 
Take a look at the this video, this is the resulting accident waiting to happen.....

This is what Wiltshire Council say.....
"The experimental orders will help improve safety for people using the byways by removing the vehicles using the route which have increased since the closure of the A344. The orders will also prevent further damage to the byways and the adjoining World Heritage Site and preserve/improve the experience around Stonehenge for visitors now and in the future. While the experimental orders are in force, it will be considered if they should be made permanent".
Apparently, from this posting from Wiltshire Council, we have until 12th January to comment...
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Friday, 3 August 2018

Caught on Camera!

Obviously the driver of this "Downton Delivers" truck ignored the sign at Rollestone Cross Roads advising him to turn left and use the main A360 to pass through our village.....42 tons verses 3.5 tons village weight limit!!!   On our Facebook page, comments are "missing" the chaos bit as mentioned by the person who made the that what they want?.....chaos, accidents, Mums with prams being mowed down and one comment even misses a death!!!!!!!   Get a life I say!!!
This is the type of traffic we have to put up with in our High Street on a regular basis and we thank a village resident for switching on her in car DVR Camera to capture this footage......